Wednesday, April 17, 2024

White Sox Offseason Additions Indicate Front Office Is Moving Off Oscar Colás


Before the 2023 season, Oscar Colás was considered the No. 89 prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He was also viewed by many as the long-term solution to the White Sox hole in right field. One year later it appears that Colás has fallen out of favor with the White Sox front office. This offseason Chris Getz has actively tried to bury him on the depth chart. 

Instead of giving Colas another opportunity to be the everyday right fielder, the front office has added Rafael Ortega, Mark Payton, Brett Phillps and Kevin Pillar to minor league deals to compete for the job. Getz then doubled down on his lack of faith in Colás by trading for Dominic Fletcher and Zach DeLoach. Not only can Fletcher and DeLoach play right field, but they are also both left-handed bats. 

Colás earned a job on the White Sox Opening Day roster after an impressive 2023 Spring Training. In his first Cactus League 21 at-bats, he hit .429 with a .931 OPS. But after breaking camp with the team it became clear that the rookie lacked plate discipline. Colás owned a 39.8 percent chase rate, 31.8 percent whiff rate, and 27 percent strikeout rate, paired with just a 4.6 percent walk rate. He also fanned on 41.5% of breaking balls he tried to hit. 

The 25-year-old was sent back down to Triple-A Charlotte on May 2nd to improve his approach. When he was recalled on July 4th and given another chance in the big leagues he squandered it with his poor fundamentals which ultimately led to another demotion in September. 

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White Sox manager Pedro Grifol and the newly appointed general manager called out Colás for his lack of fundamentals shortly after he was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. 

“He’s got to go down there and take care of those fundamentals,” Grifol told reporters last September. “We talked a lot here about those fundamentals. We’ve worked a lot, we’ll continue to work with him. However, we thought it was just a good time for him to go down there and just attack those things on the Minor League side.

“I talked about this over and over again, and Chris and I are aligned on this vision: We want to play a fundamental style of baseball. We want to eliminate mistakes, and details are extremely important to us. That’s what we’re going to be looking for moving forward.”

The overall numbers were ugly for Colás. In 263 plate appearances, he managed just 53 hits, five home runs, and 19 RBIs. While he does possess a strong arm, his defense in right field also left a lot to be desired. 

Colás owns a dWAR of -0.7. His six errors lead all American League right fielders despite only playing 69 games there. His six errors are also the third-highest total amongst all AL outfielders. While Colas does have above-average arm strength he still has a Fielding Run Value of -2, which measures how often a baserunner takes an extra base off of him. 

While his on-field production was limited, the front office was more frustrated with his mental errors. Colás had multiple instances of throwing to the wrong base from right field, overshooting the cutoff man, getting poor secondary leads, and running into outs. There were also rumblings about maturity issues.  

“He’s made some mistakes, not that we were too surprised when those mistakes have happened,” Getz told the media last September in Detroit. “It’s a matter of minimizing those. You want players to go out there and play freely and be the athletes they are but within the approach of winning a baseball game and making good decisions on the field. There have been moments that perhaps have gotten a little too big for him.”

All signs point to the White Sox moving off Colas. Since those comments, Getz hasn’t brought up Colás name much in regards to future right field plans. Even before the additions of Pillar, DeLoach and Fletcher, Getz said a starter had “yet to be established”, which further indicated they don’t trust Colás. With 70 players in White Sox camp, it is going to be easy for him to get lost in the shuffle unless he can prove why he was considered a top-100 prospect a year ago.

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